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Gapurow in 1980

Muhammetnazar Gapurowiç Gapurow (15 February 1922 – 13 July 1999) (sometimes referred to by the Russianized name Мухамедназар Гапурович Гапуров Mukhamednazar Gapurovich Gapurov) served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR from 1969 until 1985. He spent his entire career in the Komsomol and Communist Party apparatus, becoming one of the republic's most influential politicians for almost two decades in the Brezhnev era.

Gapurow was born in a small village close to Chardzhou (now Türkmenabat) in Chardzhou oblast (now Lebap Province). From 1941 to 1943 he was on active duty in the Red Army during World War II. In 1948 Gapurow joined the Communist Party nomenklatura as head of the Propaganda Department at the district level in Chardzhou oblast and gradually climbed the party ladder. He graduated from the Pedagogical Institute in Ashgabat in 1954. From 1951 to 1955 he worked as first secretary of the Komsomol organisation, and later he held various party posts before assuming the republic's leadership.

In 1969 he was appointed first secretary of the Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR. During his time in office, the republic received considerable investment in its modernisation of the gas and oil sectors, and living standards rose significantly for the general population. However, excessive centralised control over economic development and macroeconomic mismanagement led to a stagnation of economic growth in most sectors of the republic's economy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Gapurow's era also witnessed further growth in nepotism, regional rivalries and corruption.

In 1985, incoming General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev removed Gapurow from his post due to a cotton-related corruption scandal and sent him into retirement. He never returned to the political arena and held several minor positions in the late 1980s. He authored several books and articles during the Soviet era, mainly on Communist Party and Turkmenistan development issues. In the 1990s he began writing his memoirs but left them unfinished when he died in 1999.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Abazov, Rafis. Historical Dictionary of Turkmenistan, p. 64-5. Scarecrow Press, 2005, ISBN 0-8108-5362-0.

External links[edit | edit source]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Balyş Öwezow
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR
1969 – 1985
Succeeded by
Saparmurat Niyazov

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